Having been made to wait five matches to turn Hyundai A-League goal 49 into 50, Kosta Barbarouses wasted no time netting goals 51 and 52 on Tuesday night.
The Melbourne Victory forward became the eighth man to reach a half-century of league goals with his penalty early in the second half, before adding two more to secure a maiden professional hat-trick.
“It’s a pretty big milestone for myself,” Barbarouses said prior to his team’s flight back to Melbourne on Wednesday.
“Obviously I haven’t always been a striker, most of my career I’ve been a winger, so it’s probably taken a few years [longer than I’d like].
“But everyone can see I’m very happy in the new position and [this role] comes with more opportunities to score and I think I’m doing pretty well to take them.”
Speaking of his hat-trick, Barbarouses was understandably pleased to make room in his carry on for the match ball.
“It’s something you don’t think about going into a game, but after my second goal there was still a bit of time left.
“I’d scored two goals against Brisbane a few weeks ago and thought I might [score a hat-trick] there. But [last night] was a great chance to get one and, luckily, a ball popped up to me to get my hat-trick and it feels good.
“I want to try to do it more often.”
Deployed in a more advanced and central role across the Melbourne Victory front line, the forward now has 7 league goals through 14 appearances this term.
That leaves him one shy of the 8 he notched in 22 appearances during the 17/18 campaign, and he knows who to thank for service.
“The boys contribute to a lot of that and I want to make sure their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed in this achievement,” he said.
Barbarouses and his teammates have little time to enjoy the result, returning to action this coming Sunday against a resurgent Wellington Phoenix.
“Wellington are on a good roll at the moment and are one of the in-form teams in the competition, so we need to be wary and recover well these next few days.
“We need to be prepared for them to come here and throw everything at us… we need to be up to that, match that and better that on Sunday.
“We’ve got to be ready for everything.”
— Melbourne Victory (@gomvfc) January 16, 2019